NAIROBI, May 25 – Under fire Tusker FC head coach Francis Kimanzi, has admitted they are facing a tough season after slipping to seventh in the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) log.
Kimanzi, who saw his side suffer their fourth loss of the season over the weekend after going down 2-1 to GOtv Shield champions Sofapaka, has slammed his strikers for leaving their shooting boots at home as speculation mounts on his future at the Ruaraka-based giants.
The Brewers now trail runaway leaders and champions, Gor by 12 points with two matches to the end of the first leg and seemingly out of contention for crown unless there’s a huge turnaround in their fortunes corresponding with monumental collapse from K’Ogalo.
Despite having a deep squad compared to most KPL sides, the 10-time champions who were tipped to give K’Ogalo a tough challenge are yet to find their form with Kimanzi identifying lack of firepower upfront as the root cause of their woes.
“It’s very disappointing because we deserved to win against Sofapaka having made thousands of chances but we failed to score. We had more than six (clear) chances in the first-half and that’s the time we could have won but unfortunately we waited too late.
“We keep on hoping one time somebody will pick his confidence as a striker and score. If we score, everything comes easy. We are always struggling because our confidence is low, we are still panicking but it’s a tough season for us, we hope we can bounce back from this loss and get a win,” the former Harambee Stars head coach lamented.
The lukewarm results have sparked rumours about his future at the Brewers with reports installing AFC Leopards head coach, Zdravako Logarusic, as his likely successor and the Croat is a known admirer of Tusker.
Whether he will be the first head coach to be shown the door this season remains to be seen after club management; through its Director Charles Obiny, maintained in March they had faith in his leadership.
Kimanzi bolstered his squad heavily with intentions of reclaiming the title he missed on his debut season last year, bringing experienced forward Patrick Oboya, defenders, Donald Mosoti and James Situma as well as midfielders Humphrey Mieno and Cercidy Lumumba among others.
But despite a strong defence of Aboud Omar, Jockins Atudo, Llyod Wahome and Situma, Tusker has conceded in all their matches except against Leopards where they won 1-0.
With experienced custodian Duncan Ochieng out with long term shoulder injury, Kimanzi has settled for youngster Faruk Shikhalo as first choice despite conceding 15 goals so far.
It has not been looking good upfront either, with much of Ismael Dunga who has scored once and Clifford Alwanga who has three goals yet to be seen.
Skipper Jesse Were remains the club’s top scorer with seven and a goal behind top scorers, Gor Mahia’s Ali Abondo and Meddie Kagere as well as Leopards Jacob Keli.
Since joining the club last year, Kimanzi has just won the KPL Top 8.